Miami Beach says partygoers who break the law are no longer tolerated

MIAMI (AP) – South Beach’s scorching party scene is set to experience a massive increase in law enforcement and tougher crackdowns on loud crowds and crime, weeks after a tourist dining with his family was fatally shot in a Miami Beach restaurant, authorities said.

“The many years of disturbing incidents in this neighborhood can no longer be tolerated,” city manager Alina Hudak said on Friday in a note revealing plans to “create the highest level of regular police presence than this region. have ever seen “.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has ordered police, along with fire, parking, sanitation and other services, to devise a unified strategy for dealing with the crowds. The police department reassigned an average of 40 officers to patrol the streets of South Beach, to increase “visibility” not only at night and on weekends, but throughout the day, the memo said.

Ten county officers are added every weekend in South Beach for the rest of the year, Gelber said in a video message Friday.

The seaside party scene has been plagued by increasingly uncontrollable revelers during holiday weekends. The city imposed a strict 8 p.m. curfew in March after unruly crowds gathered in the streets by the thousands, sparking fights, destroying restaurants and refusing to wear masks. More than 1,000 people were arrested and many came from out of town, police said.

“It’s no longer enough to treat what have historically been defined as ‘high impact times’ as anomalies when each weekend brings large crowds and challenges,” said Hudak.

Additional code officers and park rangers will be assigned to enforce ordinance violations to create a “visible and consistent deterrent” against overcrowding and other issues. Hudak stressed in his memo that the parties create a “year-round threat to public safety from visitors who have shown a blatant disregard for human life, public property and welfare. of our many law-abiding residents and guests “.

Gelber said more than half of the nearly 1,600 arrests in 2021 came from the entertainment district, where speeding, fights and gun violence have become commonplace. The city has seized more than 500 firearms this year and now has 870 surveillance cameras on the prowl.

“Every few days I call a policeman who has been injured in the line of duty,” said the mayor. “Few cities face these challenges or ask the police so much. “

The crackdown comes less than two weeks after a deadly tourist attack, when police said a gunman shot a 21-year-old father having dinner with his family as the man protected his 1-year-old son.

Twenty-two-year-old Tamarius Davis told investigators he shot Dustin Wakefield last month because he “was high on mushrooms, which made him feel like he had power,” report says of arrest.

Terrified residents have since urged the mayor to act. The mayor noted that the Wakefield murder happened at 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, but said not everyone had heard of a stabbing earlier this week or the frequent shootings in the early morning hours.

“We can’t, we can’t accept this as our normalcy,” Gelber said.

He warned that the new enhanced police presence was not sustainable, and said the party district needed to be redeveloped with fewer bars and clubs and more residential and office buildings.

Gelber also wants an earlier curfew on alcohol sales.

“What we have called an entertainment district has become an incredible magnet for crime and disorder and all that it earns in income is just not worth the heartache,” the mayor said.

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